The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called Lego. In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic. Funny coincidence that Karma was given her first ever Lego set in Copenhagen.
Lego Education has been working for over 37 years to develop playful learning experiences in classrooms. I had heard about Lego workshops for kids in Singapore too but Karma was too young then. Then when Sunday Bricks told me about their Lego classes right here in Mumbai, I jumped at the chance to make Karma try it out. If you follow me on Instagram & have seen my stories, you would already know that Karma plays with Lego almost every day. I really feel it’s one of the best toys for indoor play for kids of all ages. As a parent, I’m a big fan of Lego and here’s why!
Benefits of #Lego
1. Promotes Fine Motor Skills
Connecting Lego pieces of different shapes & sizes helps children practice dexterity. As they apply different amounts of pressure to connect pieces of various shapes & sizes, it exercises their fingers & enables better control.
2. Builds Creativity
Constructing intricate designs with Lego pieces of different shapes, colours & sizes aids creativity and imagination. There is no limit to what they can create. Especially during free play, there is no right or wrong. It’s endless imagination!
3. Develops Problem Solving
Structured play with Lego where kids follow instructions to assemble fosters problem solving, concentration & attention to detail. Everything from balance, symmetry, shapes, sizes & colours are learned while building with Lego.
4. Aids Mathematical Thinking
It even develops mathematical thinking as their minds experience fractions & divisions while trying to figure out how small and big pieces fit together.
5. Planning Skills
Structured play with Lego that involves following instructions is a very fun yet developmental challenge for kids. Even mistakes made teach them to un-build, retrace their steps, plan & analyse to achieve the final vision without the pressure to learn. It’s a very organic process.
Lego is one of those toys that can keep a child engaged for hours and teach them persistence in the process. Play time with Lego teaches them to persevere, keep building, take their time & grow into more complex designs as their skills improve with each level.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong in Lego. Free or structured play, it’s a learning based process that results in a creation based on your child’s vision & effort. There is always a sense of achievement at the final result & kids beam with pride at the end. It’s a very positive way to boost self esteem.
All these learnings came into play at the Lego workshop by Sunday Bricks. But I also want to talk about their approach & how they maximized those benefits through structured play. As a parent, there are certain things that really stood out to me:
1. Age Appropriate Play
Keeping Karma’s age in mind, they had a succession of lego bricks projects ready for her to build which would help them assess her understanding of colours, shapes, sizes & construction. But at the same time, be a fun achievable challenge so her interest & focus is maintained.
2. Teaching Methodology
I was personally very impressed by how they taught the concepts & explained the instructions to kids without too much handholding but just the right amount of help so they learn to do it themselves.
3. Encouraging Independence
Adding to the point above, they even let Karma make mistakes (for lack of a better word) so they could explain the differences in what she had done & what the instructions said. Learning from mistakes is an important part of learning & as parents, we tend to rush to rescue. But these guys were super patient & aimed at maximising learning.
4. Structured Play
You might ask why I said ‘mistakes’ when there is no right or wrong in Lego. If you read the benefits listed above, you will agree that both structured & free play with lego lead to multifaceted developments in kids. However, following instructions helps build focus, problem solving & attention to detail. So that aspect of direction led learning is equally important.
5. Learning Concepts
There were a couple of intricate points where Karma got confused about how & where a very tiny piece of will fit or could not locate the right brick between two identically shaped pieces that were different shades of light green. Instead of just directly helping her with this, the instructors took their time to explain the concept & guided her in a way that she eventually led herself to the solution. This approach is not easy to implement & I really loved the fact that they managed to do this well at every step.
6. Communication & Team Work
Be it instructor-child or a bunch of kids, playing with Lego enhances communication skills & team work. It’s a two way process that includes explaining ideas, asking questions, understanding the process, verbalising difficulties & challenges and finally describing the work. I could see this progression between Karma & her instructor as she moved from each level.
It was Karma’s first time at a lego workshop & also her first time with Lego Bricks instead of Lego Duplo that is slightly bigger in size. But I am very keen on her attending regularly as its not only fun but the environment & approach with which they conduct these classes is constructive, enjoyable & pressure-free.